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39.9% men and 3% of women smoke – Prices of cigarettes in Kuwait cheapest among GCC states
KUWAIT CITY, May 31: Kuwait ranked first in the Gulf in terms of smoking rate as 39.9 percent of men and three percent of women in the country are smoking, reports Al- Jarida daily quoting Dr Amal Al-Yahya from the Ministry of Health. Speaking in a symposium organized recently by the Kuwait Society for Smoking and Cancer Control on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day 2021, Al-Yahya cited results of a study conducted by the Health Promotion Department stating that the average age for starting smoking among smokers in the country is 17 years old. She disclosed some children started smoking cigarettes at the age of eight, stressing this is very dangerous. She said the results of a survey conducted on adolescents in 2016 showed that the smoking rate among adolescent males (13-15 years) is 24 percent and eight percent for their female counterparts.
She clarified the three percent smoking rate among women here is only for smoking cigarettes. “If we add other types of tobacco such as hookah, the rate will reach five percent and this could increase further if electronic cigarettes are taken into consideration,” she said. She pointed out the prices of cigarettes in Kuwait are the cheapest among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — next to the State of Qatar, adding that the annual cost of smoking in Kuwait is KD481 million. She warned that smoking causes the death of 49 out of every 100,000 males — the highest in the GCC. “According to the classifications we followed in the last 10 years, smoking is considered one of the risk factors for morbidity and premature death in the State of Kuwait,” she revealed. She affirmed the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, in cooperation with the Anti- Smoking and Cancer Association, highlighted the smoking scourge in last Friday’s sermon. She also emphasized the need to apply the Selective Tax Law on tobacco products to increase the prices of these products; which could lead to reduction in consumption, especially among the young people.